The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond. Review 

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for my ARC of this novel. 

I was seriously intrigued by the premise of this novel. Alice and Jake are in a pretty strong relationship so when a wedding guest gifts them the option to join The Pact a special and exclusive group for married couples who want to work to ensure that their marriage lasts forever. 

Some of the rules are really great and make complete sense. Answer your spouse when they call, buy them a little gift each a month, take a trip somewhere every quarter. Great right? 


Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamourous parties and the idea of working together to ensure their marriage goes through both the good and bad times. But then they find out that not only do they have to keep The Pact a secret, they have to abide by the rules or suffer the consequences. Consequences which are frankly shocking. 


Jake is the narrator of the story and he’s a really stand up guy. He’s strong and confident and at least tried to resist the control that The Pact held over them. Alice not so much, to be honest she’s a bit aggravating and throughout a lot of the novel I felt like she didn’t deserve Jake! 

The novel is so well written, and the plot is so good that it makes it unputdownable. The things that happen to the characters have you literally hanging on to your seat for dear life as you wonder what’s going to happen next!! 

 

I’m glad the Plot lived up to my expectations and formed not only a great book but a truly original idea and you don’t get many of those anymore! 

The I Dare You Book Tag 

Today I am going to be doing my very first blog based book tag! Which is really strange as I’m used to filming them so I’m unsure how different this is going to be! But I’m sure it will be just as much fun to write and read as it would be to film and watch… 

I was tagged by the amazing girls over at Game of Tomes on YouTube; Jessica and Christeena. You can check out their channel which always features the very best booktags along with their unique Booktube style here: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCvP9FmVGXk6WZT39rfv4_9A

The OP of this tag from what I can see is: https://bookfandom1001.wordpress.com/

So first off we have a set of rules followed by 19 questions: 

                              The Rules 

  • You must be honest 
  • You can’t not answer a question 
  • You have to tag at least four people 

So without further ado… drumroll please… 


Question 1 – Which book has been on your shelves the longest..? 

I’m unsure if this means the longest as in how long I’ve owned it or the longest as in the one I’ve left unread the longest. So I’ll answer for both. The oldest book I have is my dog eared copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling which like Jessica’s over at Book of Tomes, is falling apart! The book I’ve had on my shelves longest which I am yet to actually read is Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke and it hasn’t actually been on there that long as I tend to read whatever I buy really quickly. The stuff on my kindle however some of that has been on there a shamefully long time 🙈 


2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next? 

My current read is The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond. 

My last read was Select by Marit Weisenberg. 

And my next read will be Minority Report by Philip K Dick. 


3. What book did everyone like but you hated? 

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that ‘everyone liked’ this book but it does have nearly 4 stars on Goodreads. Neither would I say I hated it but it was rather poor. That would be Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. 


4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but probably won’t? 

I don’t really find that I have this issue because I tend to want to read absolutely everything on my TBR and I’m steadily working down that list. However if I had to choose it would be a series rather than a book and that is the Jessica Daniels series by Kerry Wilkinson. My grandma loves them and we usually like the same books, I didn’t get on with the first one but she keeps assuring me they get better so I added them to my TBR in the hope it would give me enthusiasm to read the rest of the series. So far it hasn’t worked. 


5. Which books are you saving for retirement? 

Absolutely none! Life is too short and I’m trying to read as much as I can every year! If anything retirement would be the time to re-read all my old favourites once I’ve got down my tbr! Though it will probably take me until retirement to get down it! 


6. Last page, read it, or wait until the end? 

I’ll always say wait until the end of course, there’s no fun in knowing what happens! Although, occasionally when I want to check how many pages are in a book I’ll inadvertently read the last sentence or two! 


7. Acknowledgements, waste of paper and ink or an interesting aside? 

I can’t say I’m that fussed on reading the acknowledgements in a book but having being acknowledged in a book myself I think it’s a really precious thing to do and really only relevant to those who are acknowledged! 

8. Which book character would you swap places with? 

Clary Fray, because Jace. I don’t feel I need to say anything more about that! 


9. Do you have a book which reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)? 

I would have to say Folly by Alan Titchmarsh which always makes me feel Christmassy! It’s just the cover really that gets me in the festive mood every time. 


10. Name a book you acquired in an interesting way. 

I get a lot of interestingly acquired books because publishers send them to me and I get different subscription boxes so I’m going to go with the most recent which came in a subscription box (not saying which because spoilers!) and that is Roar By Cora Carmack. 


11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person? 

I give books as gifts and loan some of mine out but The only one I can think of which was particularly special was Vivienne Westwood’s biography to my best friend who loves her designs. 

12. Which book has been to the most places with you? 

Probably Sepulchre by Kate Mosse it’s moved to all my different homes over the past 8 years and I originally picked it up from the hotel library in Zante in 2009 so it’s been abroad with me too! 


13. Any required reading you hated in High School that wasn’t so bad  years later? 

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I thought it was so weird the first time round but I understand it better now. 


14. What is the strangest item you’ve found in a book? 

A postcard which had been addressed and written on! 

15. Used or brand new? 

I don’t mind really. I love brand new books as much as the next person but I’m not adverse to buying second hand and 50% of the books I buy each month are used. 


16. Have you ever read a Dan Brown Book? 

Yes I’ve read them all and really like them, here’s my collection! 


17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book? 

My initial answer to this would have been no but then I watched Game of Tomes and have to agree that it would be The Help by Kathryn Stockett 

18. A book that should have never been published? 

I literally can’t name one! 

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry? 

The Children of Cherry Tree Farm by Enid Blyton their picnics always sound amazing! 


Now for my four tags! I tag: 

1. Becky at Uptown Oracle http://www.uptownoracle.com/

2. Sarah at The Critiquing Chemist https://critiquingchemist.com/

3. Erik at The Past Due Book Review https://thepastduebookreview.com/

4. Shannon at Captivated by Fantasy https://shannonpaigewaters.com/

Select by Marit Weisenberg. Review 

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and Marit Weisenberg for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Select was granted to me in a Netgalley wish and frankly it was right up my street. 

Julia comes from a race of highly evolved humans who are trying desperately to fit in and stay under the radar, but the thing is they’re just too noticeable. A little bit too beautiful, a little bit too smart, a little bit too dangerous… but something weird is going on in Julia’s perfect world, she has abilities which she wasn’t supposed to keep, her father, the leader of their race is keeping dark secrets and humans are going insane around him. But when she’s banished to ‘normal’ school she meets John and everything she ever believed in is turned on its head. 


I really liked this novel, the pace was kind of slow but it worked for it to be like that, it didn’t feel too slow it just wasn’t speeding by full throttle and that was the pace which suited it. Julia was a likeable character, on the edge and not typically gorgeous like the rest of them. And I really liked John he was a great human! I hated Liv her sister who was just the weakest, brain washed self centred b*tch! 


I loved the concept it is as far as I’m aware a completely original one and I love that the story has been left open for a sequel! 


The mix of Sci-fi and real life was done really well and frankly there just isn’t enough sci-fi YA on the market which for me is one of the main things that sets this book above the rest. Nothing was revealed too quickly but that just made you want to read it even more to find out what happens next. An easy 5* from me for this one! 

GeekGear World of Wizardry Unboxing June 2017 

I’m back with another unboxing! I’m going to be sticking with fairyloot going forward but now and again I’d like to get different boxes just to give them a try, I unfortunately can’t afford to be getting lots of boxes every month much as I’d love to! 

So today’s unboxing is for the GeekGear World of Wizardry box and it’s the first one I’ve had from them. I’m really impressed with it! Disclaimer: spoilers ahead, if you haven’t received your World of Wizardry box for June 2017 then read no further! 

For those of you who haven’t had this box before, you basically choose your Hogwarts house (in my case Ravenclaw) and the items in your box are based around that house. The box retails at £19.99 per month and can be found here: http://www.geekgearbox.co.uk/ you’re also guaranteed at least one item of clothing each box. 

So this month (June) started off with this gorgeous house t shirt, mine of course being for Ravenclaw. 

Next up and my favourite item in the whole box is this stunning scarf with all the house badges on it! 

I love this limited edition Hagrid and Buckbeak pin which is sooooo cute! I was really lucky as well and got one of the ones of which there were only 50 made! 

There’s also this super cute ‘lightning bolt scar’ necklace, which I’m not sure I’ll wear but I’ve hung it on my bookshelf with my HP books and it looks great there 🙂 

There’s a flying car too! It goes on a little transparent stand which makes it look like it’s actually flying and it goes really well with my HP pop figures! 

The Harry Potter themed playing cards are another of my favourite things in this box I’m really impressed with them, they’re all dark and spooky looking! 

Finally there’s this gorgeous print of a dragon shooting out of the Goblet of Fire which is taking pride of place on the side of my shelves where I keep prints. 

Overall I think this a great box, it doesn’t have a book of course but it does have lots of book themed goodies for the big HP fans like myself. It’s without a doubt worth the money with 2 clothing items plus the other goodies. Really impressed! 

Fairyloot Unboxing June 2017 

Welcome to my first ever Fairyloot unboxing blog post! Previously, I used to do my unboxings on my Booktube channel and you can watch my May unboxing here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NSgzlkqo1hY 

But since I’ve decided to leave Booktube (you can read my blog about that here: https://t.co/VcufLprunt) I thought it would be a great idea to do my unboxings on here instead. 

Warning: this post contains spoilers of June’s Fairyloot box. If you’ve not received your June box yet. Read no further! 

Fairyloot delivery day is such an exciting time it’s like a birthday or Christmas but once a month. It retails at £32.95 including postage and they also deliver internationally although I’m unsure if the price varies. You can order Fairyloot here: https://www.fairyloot.com/

So without further ado, let’s have a look what was in the box this month! 

First up was this lovely candle from Witchwood Remedies. It’s a vegan soy candle and has a crystal in it which corresponds with the book of the month. In all honesty it’s very pretty but I can’t really say that I like the smell! It’s something like Bergamot I think. Anyway this candles name is Twister. 

Next up and the one I was most excited about receiving in this months box is this amazing cushion cover from Miss Phi with a quote from Stephen King ‘books are a uniquely portable magic’  I love the colours and the writing is beautiful! 

I’m completely in love with this Clairvoyance soap from Ascent Bath & Body.  It has Shea butter, charcoal and coconut in it and it smells amazing! The scent is fig and pomegranate. Also, it’s black and has glitter so it’s amazing just for that alone. Again the wrapper has amazing colours as well! 


The free book sampler this month is The Waking Land by Callie Bates. I actually got an ARC of this book in May’s Illumicrate though but it looks to be a great book so if you didn’t get the ARC the sampler will be pretty cool! The premise is that an adopted daughter of a king is accused of murdering him and has to flee back to her homeland a place of magic and mystery. She then has to lead a war against the kingdom she once pledged allegiance to. 

These sticky notes are awesome particularly for any fans of Harry Potter or other magical themed books. They come in a selection of purple, blue and yellow and they’re too cute to use in all honesty! These were made by Fairyloot themselves. 


We were promised an item which related to The Last Airbender and I was really excited about that, so a bit disappointed with what it actually was and also that unfortunately I can’t use it due to it containing almond, (I’m severely allergic to nuts). So if I had to choose my least favourite item in the box it would be this The Last Airbender lip balm. Although, I’m sure a lip balm is a cool item if you can use it! This is from Geeky Clean. 


Two more to go and then we’re at the Book! This lovely postcard which features a quote from Frostblood by Ella Blake. 


Finally, for the none bookish items is this cute bracelet designed by In the Moment which features a Hansa Hand. It’s so sweet and delicate I really like it! 


And now for the book! Drum roll please… 


I was really ecstatically pleased to receive Roar by Cora Carmack along with a signed bookplate and a letter introducing the book from the author. This is a book truly about elementals which was the theme of this month’s Fairyloot and has everything from arranged marriage to controlling storms. I’m excited to begin reading this soon! 

 

Another fantastic monthly box from Fairyloot! Check back here in a month’s time to see what the July box has to offer. 

Flame in the Mist by Reneè Ahdieh. Review 

I want to clear something up with regards to this book. It is not a Milan retelling despite what’s been going around. For one it’s set in Japan not China and for two other than cross dressing it has no similarities at all. Disclaimer: I will be using Mulan Gifs in this review because I can 😉 


Now that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the review. 

I received Flame in the Mist in my May Fairyloot box and instantly fell in love with the cover. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover and this one is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! The premise interested me as well, I’ve not read much about Japanese folklore or myths and legends and my entire experience of any kind of Japanese literature is the novels of Haruki Murakami. So I was admittedly very interested to step out into the unknown. 

I’m really glad that I did! Mariko is travelling to the imperial city in a litter when it is attacked, all her samurai and servants are killed and Mariko, convinced it is the work of the infamous renegades, The Black Clan, sets out to find them, infiltrate them and find out why they wanted her dead. I loved the character of Mariko or at least the idea of her, not once was she described as particularly beautiful apart from in the view as a prize for the Emperors son. Instead she is smart, a scholar, a whiz with her mind and with inventions and you know what? That’s really cool and makes a nice change. Lots of books feature smart girls but often the focus is on the fact that they are beautiful and smart. It was nice to see something fresh here. 


I liked all of the characters who all had a lot of story, I’d certainly like to know more of their stories though as it feels a bit like we were fed titbits. This combined with the ending is definitely making me hope for a second novel! 

I also really liked that Mariko didn’t become some fearsome warrior because that would have just been too Mulan inspired for words. In fact she is an individual in her own right completely separate from any other fictional character I’ve read and I loved her the more for it! 


The storyline was well played if a little slow to begin with. It soon picked up the pace and we were treated to folklore, culture, division between rich and poor, man and woman, dark magic and most importantly what I viewed as the moral of the story that the lines between good and evil are not always that well drawn. 

In summary I really liked this book and feel that it is off to a promising start for a series or at least a second book, so fingers crossed there will be one! 

Why I’m Leaving Booktube 

I’ve recently come back from a wonderful holiday in Sorrento, Italy. I had an amazing time, most of which was spent taking in the beautiful scenery, lounging by the pool with a cocktail and eating so much pizza it’s a wonder I don’t look like one. I read 17.5 books while I was there and to be completely honest it was pure bliss just to kick back and relax without having to worry about any of my roles. Whether that be my normal 9-5 job or my role as a vlogger. I still kept up with reviewing on here and enjoyed the writing process as always. But the realisation came to me that Booktube was taking up far too much of my time. Time that I’m afraid I’ve decided could be spent better elsewhere. 


I started Life Has a Funny Way in 2013 and I’ve seen it go from strength to strength. My passion for writing combined with my passion for reading and it all came together to make this blog. A blog that I am proud to say now has over 100 followers. That’s 100 people who actually care what I have to say and it feels amazing!! Writing is such a simple pastime for me, it’s something I can do while I’m watching tv, waiting for a meal to cook, or even when I’m laid in bed suffering insomnia like right now. Plus the bonus is that I get to write about the things I love most. Books! 


Booktube was not exactly a natural progression for me. Me and my partner had discussed it more for him, because he’s heavily into PC gaming we discussed the option of him having a channel and around that time we came up with the idea of me having one to talk about books. I had no idea that there was a community already out there, rather stupidly I thought I was coming up with a niche idea that would bring in the masses of people out there who wanted to bring reading into the 21st century as much as I did. I didn’t realise naively that they were all already out there. There’s some amazing Booktubers out there and they are doing such a good job of it already, I really didn’t see what I could bring to the table that wasn’t already sitting on it! 


One of the questions on the Booktube newbie tag is ‘what can you bring to Booktube which is new/original’ (I’m paraphrasing here). I honestly couldn’t think of anything I could bring. I later realised that the one niche I have over other people is how much I read in a month. Every month I generally read at least 20 books. But all this results in is veryyy long videos. The one thing that every advice page suggests you never do. People’s attention spans are short and running through a wrap up that’s pushing 20 minutes long just isn’t going to hold people’s attention! 


That became all too clear when people who joined Booktube at the same time as me were surpassing 100 followers while mine sat squarely at 46 a number which has now decreased to 42. Rather than gaining followers I’m losing them! 

Despite that though, I persevered. I’d invested money, not tons but enough to make it worth staying, and more specifically time in trying to get it right. Filming 2 videos every Saturday takes around an hour including set up, outfit changes, preparing for the video I.e doing my hair and makeup when usually I’d be slobbing around in my pjs all day. Then the editing process for 2 videos takes about another 90 minutes to 2 hours. Then there’s designing the thumbnail, uploading the video to YouTube, working out scheduling, tidying up after I’ve taken all my books off the shelves etc. It was just starting to get too much. 


One thing that the book community probably don’t know about me is that I suffer from anxiety really badly. While I had no anxiety about filming etc I found that the drag booktubing was having on my personal time was taking its toll. I became obsessive with it, needing to read more and more to keep beating my own exaggerated targets and finding I didn’t have time left over to spend with friends and family. When confirmation of my enrolment on my 4th year of uni came through I just realised that enough was enough. Once I got back at uni in September, along with my full time job, reading for pleasure, watching tv, looking after my dog and gardening there was going to be no time left for anything else. 


On top of that, since starting Booktube I haven’t worked on my own novel once! And it’s really about time I got that finished. It’s been a work in progress for 4 years now and I need to pull myself together some. 


I’m really grateful however that I got the chance to have a go at Booktube. I enjoyed talking about books with fellow book lovers and I met some great people on there who share my love of reading a dead tree and hallucinating! I want to say a special thank you to Anni, Jayesh and Georgina who have been my best bookish friends and so supportive of my Booktube journey. I hope that we’ll keep in touch, I’ll definitely still be checking out their Booktube channels and supporting them through their Booktube journey. Plus I still owe Jayesh some cheesecake and Millie’s cookies! 


I’ll be leaving my channel open so people can still check out my previous videos and it’s not to say that I might not return one day when I have more free time on my hands! I’ll still be doing my monthly wrap ups and book hauls and joining in with the brilliant book tags that go around. It’s just that I’ll be doing them from my blog now rather than on my channel. It’s time to get back to what I’m best at, reading and then writing about it. 

Thank you to all that have shown support for my channel and an especially big thank you to all the followers of my blog who have supported Life Has a Funny Way and helped to develop it to what it is today. You’re the reason I keep believing that I can do this and that people actually care about what I have to say. You’re all awesome! 

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